Study details: Folate targeted therapy
Tumor: Bladder or urethra tumors
Purpose of Study: Dr. Low’s laboratory made an important discovery a few years ago that certain cancers in humans and animals take up much more of the vitamin folate than normal cells, sometimes 100 times more. This provides the opportunity to attach cancer treatment agents to folate in order to selectively “deliver” the cancer drugs to the cancer cells with much less exposure to normal cells. This is expected to allow more effective treatment of the cancer while having less risk of side effects. Folate-targeted therapy is already showing promise in clinical trials in humans with ovarian and lung cancer, but has not yet been studied in humans with bladder cancer. A study has already been completed at Purdue showing that folate attached to the chemotherapy drug vinblastine has good antitumor activity against TCC in dogs, and that the drug can be given safely. The new clinical trial for dogs will include a different folate-drug conjugate, folate attached to a cancer drug called tubulysin. Based on work in cell culture and work in laboratory animals, folate-tubulysin is expected to be even more effective than folate-vinblastine. It is important to note that the folate uptake in the cancer varies from dog to dog, and tests must be done to determine if an individual dog’s tumor takes up the folate. One of the tests to detect folate uptake is a folate scan in which a folate imaging agent is given to the dog, and 2 hours later images of the dog made with a special “x-ray” machine called a gamma camera. The other test is performed on tumor tissue from the dog. If the cancer takes up folate, then it is likely the dog could benefit from folate-targeted therapy, and participation in the study could be considered. If the cancer does not take up folate, then it would be better to pursue different therapy for that particular dog. For more information, click here.